AT&T shifts focus to Google, Facebook over internet privacy concerns

Continuing to bombard the FCC with NPRM-related commentary that the agency may or may not be listening to, AT&T (NYSE: T) called a proposal to enact privacy regulations on ISPs a "misdirection."

Highlighting its comments in a company blog post today, AT&T's Senior VP of Federal Regulatory, Bob Quinn, continued to hammer home the company's key talking point that the FCC proposal doesn't reveal a knowledge of how the Internet advertising economy really works.

"Edge providers, not ISPs, are the clear market leaders in tracking consumers and monetizing consumer online data," Quinn said. "Google and Facebook alone account for more than 54 percent of digital advertising revenues and 67 percent of the mobile advertising market. In short, the data to which ISPs have access, compared to other players in the ecosystem, is neither unique nor 'proprietary' even as contemplated by Title II."

Quinn reiterated AT&T's desire to have the FCC step away from regulating the Internet and let the Federal Trade Commission continue handling it.

"I suppose the federal government could have stepped in a long ago time ago and subjected the entire internet to a heavy-handed, Title II-like regulatory construct, but it made a conscious decision not to do so," he said. 

"Instead, the government adopted a light touch framework under the leadership of the FTC," Quinn added. "That approach has long focused on potentially harmful uses of consumer data, specifically sensitive information, or information shared with third parties. The FTC rules of engagement have applied to the entire internet ecosystem evenly and been effective for decades. As a result of that approach, consumers worldwide enjoy ad-supported free services and the entire Internet ecosystem has flourished with the United States in a leadership position.  Companies, like AT&T, have simply argued in this proceeding that the FCC should continue to follow that same successful framework so that all providers in the internet ecosystem can continue to operate under the same rules regardless of which part of the ecosystem a company resides."

For more:
- read this AT&T policy blog post

Related articles:
AT&T: FCC set-top proposal is a 'radical unbundling scheme'
NCTA's Powell: 'Relentless government assault' has been launched against the cable industry
CTIA: Proposed privacy rules would harm competition, violate the First Amendment

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